The Growing Resources for IT (GRIT) program is a $5 million, 4-year grant awarded by the Department of Labor to Midlands Technical College. The GRIT program provides technical training to unemployed and underemployed minorities, women, veterans and others with a background in IT. The grant covers the cost of tuition, books, and multiple certifications and funds the GRIT On-the-Job-Training program.
As a participant in the GRIT program, Ernest Boyd quickly proved his aptitude and natural abilities in his front-end web developer classes. Ernest had obtained an associates degree in Information Technology but had not been able to get his foot in the door in the industry. He was also an introvert. As the Job Readiness Coach for the GRIT participants, I could see the potential challenges he would face in getting past, or even to, the interview table. I also could see how driven and motivated he was.
Ernest took advantage of every opportunity he could to better his chances at landing a job as a programmer. He signed up to volunteer at IT-oLogy’s Cyber Saturday, attended every Tech After 5, and made his way around the room at the iTs/SC Careers in Insurance Mixer. When an HR representative from SCANA mentioned that he should look into attending Toastmasters, he signed up. He attended the WordPress workshop at IT-oLogy and made his way to the Richland County Public Library’s Business and Job Center for an interview workshop.
Initially introduced to a hiring manager from Seibels at the iTs/SC Careers in Insurance Mixer, he ran into him again as a fellow volunteer at Cyber Saturday and at Tech After 5. Outside of the formality of an interview, Ernest was able to develop a rapport with this person. When his class graduated and Seibels was looking over the resumes of the group, guess whose resume floated to the top? All his efforts paid off: Ernest was offered an entry-level web developer position at Seibels.
Events hosted by IT-oLogy and its partner organizations serve to connect the IT community. Instead of being just “another networking event”, Ernest was able to build relationships with others in the industry. What was hard for him to show on a resume, his character and motivation, came through in the fun day he spent volunteering at Cyber Saturday and in the casual mingling at Tech After 5. The additional skills he developed in the GRIT program gave him the capability to compete for jobs in the IT industry.
Though Ernest’s story is unique, there are other candidates in the GRIT program waiting for their opportunity to prove themselves as valuable and skilled employees. Contact Pelham Spong at [email protected] for more information on the GRIT program and GRIT participants.